Preparing To Present Your Business Case – Part 1 of 3

One of the challenges with getting approval for a business case is presenting it well. Never underestimate the power of a poor presentation. There are several things you should consider when making a presentation:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. Is your audience prepared for your message?
  3. Do you speak the same language?

1. Who is your audience?
Everyone recommends that you should know your audience. With that said, most people still don’t take this seriously. Allow me to reiterate:  Know your audience! If you don’t know your audience, you run the risk of delivering your information in a way that simply won’t be received.

You can do one of two things, go back to school and take an undergraduate degree in psychology, or do a couple things right. For example, figure out whether your audience consists of big picture thinkers, administrators, or departmental managers.

Many of the executives in organizations are big picture thinkers. They must have an effective executive summary that provides the brush strokes of the proposal with key information that illustrates the following: What’s being proposed, why it’s being proposed, who will be involved. If there’s profit involved, how much and how long will it take? Additionally, what are the risks of not hitting your goals? They will ask tough questions and may be backed by a team of advisors. Make sure your “big picture” presentation is backed up with thorough data.

Administrators are interested in the same information with a different set of objectives. They often don’t have the expertise to question the content, but they will definitely question whether you’ve adhered to all the rules, used the required templates, and checked all the required boxes.

Departmental managers are often very important stakeholders in your endeavour. They are usually the ones that will own what you’re creating at the end of the day. As a result, they take your proposal very seriously. Get them involved early and keep them on your side. You need them politically. You need their management expertise, and you may need their subject matter expertise.

In my next blog I’ll discuss the benefits of ensuring that your audience is prepared for your message. In the meantime, check out Learning Tree’s business analysis course, Building an Effective Business Case.

Larry T. Barnard, PMI-RMP, PMP, IISPM-Practitioner

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